today, I’m here with suspense writer P.J. Mann.
Hi, P.J., and thank you for being here. So, how did you come up with the idea for your book?
Good question, I just started to write about a teenager, who had everything in his life except any clue about what life’s all about. Then, the following questions started to take over:
-what will happen to him if he will lose everything in a single night?
-what will happen if he will have to discover how to live a life starting from the scratch from jail?
-what if there is more than just bad luck conjuring against him?
-who will be the woman at his side?
In this way, following all the odds I started to write, not even knowing where the story was going until I wrote the word “the end”
What sort of research did you do to write this book?
For this book, I had to do very few in terms of research, just the general rules for the inmates of a prison, the sort of penalty people will get for a certain crime, and the daily life of a prisoner.
If your story had a soundtrack, which song would it be?
It might be either “ride on” of AC/DC or “carnival of rust” of Poets of the Fall (a Finnish band).
Tell us a fun fact about writing your book
Nobody (besides a very close friend of mine) knew I was even writing; then, one day, I told my husband “Hey, I published a novel.”
You should have seen his face!!!
Seems like my mom reaction, when I told her! Did you always have the reins of the story or the people in it tried to take over?
You mean my characters? Oh, God, they always try to take over, and many times, they have better ideas than I have (LOL).
What are you working on now?
My next novel, of course. It is almost finished, it needs just the polishing of a good proofreader/copyeditor, and then it might be ready for the publishing process.
Do you have a day job?
Ah, that is a very bad story. I had a day job, and that fueled economically the novel production. Last year, in December, I lost my job, so now I am a bit struggling with how to finance the publishing (and my life in general), but I keep positive. If you get deep into negative thoughts, you will never be able to get out of a difficult situation.
What started you on the path to writing?
I guess that were many factors; frustrations, good times, need to discharge my rage when things didn’t go the right way (and I tell you, this is the best writing material).
I started to write since I was a teenager (a long time ago), to cope with the new feelings puberty brought. I continued to take out what was in my heart, to release stress, frustration, to share with my imaginary world the happiness and all the other states of mind I had.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
When I was still working, I used to wake up a 06:00 am to be at work at 6:45 am. In Finland, we have a very flexible working schedule, so to accommodate all the needs. I am mostly a morning person so working from 6:45 to 14:45, is the way to get me more productive. Of course, if there is the need to do extra time, I do it, but this is a rare case. At 15:30, I am back home, and then, I take care of the house and start to work on my novels.
Nowadays, I wake up later, search for new jobs opportunities and then I get immersed in my writing world.
How do you keep from resenting your duties when you have to stop writing to take care of them?
I don’t feel like I resent other duties or even other hobbies for keeping me from writing, as a matter of fact, by doing something else, my mind is taking a break and I get more efficient.
Wise! What do your friend and family think about your being a writer?
They are very enthusiast about it, and they keep saying that they are very proud of me. They are sure I got all it takes to become a great writer, but their pride brings also a big responsibility. I don’t want to disappoint them.
Nevertheless, I don’t even want to disappoint myself, or the people that so far read and liked my novel.
The biggest surprise you had after becoming a writer
Somebody bought my novel, and they also liked it!!! The amazing feeing of doing something that is appreciated.
What does your writing space look like?
That is quite a writing multitasking space, my desk is an old oak wooden desk, where there is my laptop and a banker’s lamp. On the side, by the window, there are my chilies, tomatoes, herbs plants, that I grow as a passion for home-grown food. On the other side, another wooden drawer and my collection of stuffed animals (those I had since I was a kid), as they remember me not to give up the little dreamer inside my soul.
Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?
I am a by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer, I start to write and see where the story will lead me.
I’m always in awe and a bit jealous of pantser. What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
Since my I have published only one book, so far, I think it was seeing my book published on Amazon. Then, having it printed in my hands; that was a bliss!
Which kind of scenes are the hardest for you to write? Action, dialogue, sex?
Maybe action, I want the reader to feel what I see through my imagination, and translate that into words, can be tricky.
The toughest critic that’s ever been given to you as an author
That was the critic from an experienced author, who showed me how I knew nothing yet about being an indie author. She was right, and I am very grateful she stopped by to give me some hints.
How long does it take to write a story?
It depends. Just to write it, maybe a couple of months, to proofread/copy-edit, it might take other six months. To have a novel published from the “once upon a time” to the time it is ready to be purchased, I’d say one year.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Millions of things, I love to go out in the nature with my camera and take pictures, or travelling (I keep a blog about my travelling experiences), taking care of my plants, and spending time with my husband and friends.
What are your top three favorite books of all time?
- Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
- Four past midnight by Stephen King
- Comma 22 by Joseph Heller
If you were stranded on a deserted island and can have only 2 people with you, a person from your books and a person from any other book, which would they be?
That is a difficult question, perhaps from my books (including those not yet published) it will be Steve, a student in aerospace engineering who is paying his college working as a porn actor, and the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland. With them you will never feel like you miss anything from home.
Favorite actor and actress.
Al Pacino and Sophia Loren (I know, I am a bit outdated LOL)
Pen or computer.
Depends on the availability, but computer is the one I prefer for the flexibility and the ease to transfer words, and correct them.
Music or silence
Silence, absolutely; I need to hear my thoughts.
Alone or in public
I’m a social introvert, I love to be surrounded by people, until this means for a short time.
God, that’s perfect for me too! I’ve always looked for a way to describe me, and there it is! Thank you! Sorry. Back to the quick questions. Routine or when inspiration struck
When inspiration struck, and that can be also in the middle of the night
Outline or just write
Just write, everything will come together eventually.
If you were an animal, which one would you be?
A wise owl, the king of the predators.
If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, which would it be?
Oh, God, British accent!!
Do you have any scar? What are they from?
Too many, they come mostly from my childhood. I grew up in the countryside, and as a child, I was always looking for something daring. Back in those days, children were less supervised and every scar was taken as a new experience, not as it is seen nowadays, as a trauma.
Thank you, P.J for giving us an inside into your world.
So, let’s see what P.J.’story is about.
Not all that glitters is diamond; sometimes it is only glass. But even its sharp edges will never hurt you like family.
Stephan is living a life every teenager would envy. Son of a wealthy businessman, he lives carefree and carelessly. However, nothing is as it seems, and his perfect life is doomed; it has been since before he was even born. Days thrill-seeking, nights lock-picking; it’s all just about to fall apart.
His older brother has uncovered a secret. For all their years together, Roger has envied Stephan’s life, his success, the attention he has from their father, but now Roger can wait no longer; this is the moment, the moment he can hurt Stephan the most, when he can turn Stephan’s choices against him, tear apart everything he cherishes, and steal away his future.
With secrecy and the resources of the Russian Mafia on his side, the older Mills brother effortlessly brings Stephan’s world down around him, a single tip-off to the police burying him under the ruins of his former life.
After a year behind bars, Stephan seems to have no hope, no future. Cut off even from the rest of his family, can he reclaim his life and freedom, or will he sink still lower? Will his years of petty crime damn him, or will they be enough to help him fight back?
And will he have to do it alone?
Here’s a brief excerpt of it.
The hall was immersed in darkness, with only the buzzing sound of the air-conditioning system and his heartbeat breaking the silence. He sneaked from a secondary road to the basement where, according to the information he could gather about the security system of the building, no surveillance cameras were installed.
He studied the blueprints in detail. Every single corner, from the basement to the parking hall, and from the emergency stairs to the floor corridor, was taken into account. However, he felt uncomfortably nervous, as he was rightly aware that surprises were not to be underestimated; flats in residential areas were well-watched by surveillance cameras. And for a reason, he thought, smiling.
He took a deep breath and covered his face whilst walking along the shadow zones of the cameras in the parking hall, towards the emergency stairs. He opened the door to the stairwell and started to climb.
His target was the fifth floor. If the information he’d got from J. was right, at Flat number 306 he should find an empty apartment. Empty of the owner, and soon empty of all the things he would be stealing from there. He felt the adrenaline rush streaming inside his body.
Here’s where you can find the whole story, and get in touch with P.J..